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How to Start Your Church Safety and Security Team

The quickest, easiest, most cost-effective and safest way to create security for your church and get stakeholders onboard.

Every so often when I travel, I drive by a very large, or “mega” church. And let me tell you . . . It’s big. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not necessarily TV “megastar” evangelist big. But it’s plenty big.

My drive past the church involves the same scene every time the church has an event. An armed, uniformed Law Enforcement Officer waving me by with his hand. On the side of the road – his fellow officers. Usually, two or three are standing on the side of the road, chatting away. Actually, there’s more than three. As I look over to my right, in the direction of the parking lot, I see more officers. Armed. Of course.

I’ve never been to the front door of this church. (I don’t attend a mega church.) But I am sure they have a n officer near the door. Like I said: I never attended this church. But, I’m willing to wager they have an armed guard near the entrance.

And it got me to thinking…

Are the parishioners of a megachurch more valuable than members of a medium or small size church?

Are their lives so valuable that they alone deserve armed security every Sunday?

Are their lives more valuable than the people I worship with every Sunday?

Of course not. But we act that way. Don’t we?

Professional Advice Makes the Process of Creating a Security Team Easier

It’s safe to assume that if you are reading this, you have thought about creating a Church Safety and Security Team.

A swirl of thoughts and questions immediately arise. Frankly, it can feel overwhelming.

You’ve probably asked yourself: What do I need to do? How does it work? How do I get traction on this for my church? Will I have trouble convincing elders, deacons or leadership to see the need for this investment?

All good questions.

We have an approach to creating a church safety or security team that answers all these questions. And, makes this process (for someone new) much easier. We wrote this article for you.

At Get Trained Be Ready, we are a team of instructors with backgrounds in the military, EMT first responders, and we are defensive shooting instructors.

We create Church Security Teams based upon principles used by the professionals (law enforcement and first responders). Whether your team consists of a handful of volunteers or spans the reach of a large church, our methods work.

Our process considers the budgetary concerns and comfort level of each house of worship. You can have a custom package scaled to your specific needs.

We want to share our professional knowledge with you. That way – you can start your process with a firm footing.

A quick glance at the statistics – Places of worship are the third most targeted (behind the workplace and schools)

Stakeholder buy-in is about creating a level of comfort with the idea of implementing a safety and security team (especially if armed) by helping them understand the need for this team.

If we are going to convince stakeholders to come on board with a security team, we need to be honest and talk bluntly about the changes in modern America.

The situation of violence in American houses of worship has changed dramatically. And, it has not changed for the better. These statistics will aid you in adding a sense of urgency to your church staff.

We will not use these statistics as scare tactics. (We don’t recommend you do either.) There is no need. We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

One investigator, criminologist Dallas Drake, has researched church shootings over the past 35 years. His research shows a troubling trend. Church shootings have doubled in the past nine years.
  • From 1980 to 2005 (25 years) there were a total of 139 church shootings.
  • From 2006 to 2015 (9 years) there were a total of 147 church shootings.
Another researcher, Carl Chinn chronicles every violent incident in places of worship. (Even the ones you do not hear about on the nightly news.) Chinn says that 2017 was the most violent year for faith-based organizations. A staggering, heart-breaking total of 118 violent deaths.

When someone assures Chinn “It won’t happen here,” he agrees with them. He says, “Their probably right. Just like their children probably won’t need seat-belts this year.”

More and more churches across the country are listening to the statistics. I think your church will too.

Be prepared to answer: What does the Bible say about armed security in places of worship

By far, the number one objection you are likely to hear when you suggest creating a church security team is the concern with having firearms in church. That is an understandable concern. A concern that you must be ready to address.

The good news?

The Bible contains dozens of references of great men and women standing armed guard over the Lord’s people and their temple. There is no need to reprint all the verses here. A quick example will do. For further references, read Kings, Chronicles, and Judges. God believed in leadership, safety, and security for his people.

Nehemiah 4:
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.

Now, you have the statistics in your favor. You are backed by the knowledge of real-world events. More importantly, you have the word of God on your side.

What else can you add to help your case?

Naturally - a professional program that lays everything out for you so that you and your church don’t have to be the experts.

Creating Your Team – The Professional Approach
(Plan, Train, Evaluate, Train more)

A professionally trained safety and security team is ready for a variety of plausible situations.

This can be anything from an illness during service, to a fire or natural disaster. In extreme events, this could mean being as prepared as possible for a mass casualty event connected to a church violence incident.

The following is the best method we have found after working with law enforcement, first responders and other churches and organizations just like yours to create, prepare, and train your church security team.


It is reasonable to plan and train for plausible scenarios and events.

Keep in mind; this is not just about active shooters. Your plan should include building and property security. Polices on open or concealed carry.

What is your plan in the event of a fire? Natural disaster?

All of this must be considered.


Seminars and books are great resources. But, they are not enough.

At Get Trained Be Ready, our training uses “simulated” exercises for active shooter events based on a variety of scenarios.

Our team designs and articulates a detailed church security plan for your team. Whom does the congregation notify if they see something odd?

Remember, everyone plays a role. We conduct team building exercises for an internal culture that’s free of communication bottlenecks.

Even ushers and greeters need to know policy and procedure.


Once we have gone through a few training exercises, we evaluate the plan.

Do we have the necessary funding in place? Enough team members?

With our experience, we can assess your team and fill in the missing gaps.


How often does your team shoot live fire exercises?

We know that physical skillsets fade as the muscle memory breaks down over time. We can recommend a “refresher” training schedule that prevents your team from losing the valuable skillset you implemented.

We also teach teams how to bring in new members for a growing congregation or to replace those who have moved away.

Some Final Thoughts

We hope this article has helped move you forward on the process of starting your church safety and security team.

We know that this can be an overwhelming process.

But it can done! It can be done professionally and safely.

We have created teams like this in the past, and we continue to help churches form new teams.

If you would like more information about forming your team, reach out to us. We stand by to help. You can help us get started building you a program in a few minutes by answering a few questions here. This will enable us to be better informed about your goals.

And remember, we can come to you. We can use your facilities, find a local range that will allow us the freedom to provide the kind of instruction you are seeking. We can even coordinate with other churches in your area to combine training, therefore, cutting costs for you and your church.

Get Trained. Be Ready.

Rob Jennings is one of our instructors. Find out more about him on our instructors page.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
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